(P122) Follow us on Facebook! A content analysis of academic libraries’ Facebook profiles

Posted in 4/6/2012 (1330-1505), Technology & New Media | 0 comments

(P122) Follow us on Facebook! A content analysis of academic libraries’ Facebook profiles

In recent years, social networking sites have become mainstream in the cyberspace. Among related Web 2.0-based social networking services, Facebook is by far one of the most popular. Academic libraries embrace this new technology and use it as a flexible channel to communicate with faculty, staff, and students. In addition to its communication capabilities, Facebook also demonstrates potential in library and information services. This study seeks to understand how Library 2.0 services, libraries’ Facebook profiles in this case, are used to virtualize library functions and user interaction processes. Web content analysis was performed on 30 Facebook profiles of academic libraries in Taiwan, with three data collection theme: (1) current Facebook uses and maintenance; (2) types of information shared; and (3) types of user participation.

Although Facebook is used by academic libraries as a way to primarily engage user participation, preliminary results indicate that majority of the posts are made by libraries, and only a limited are made by fans. Looking from academic library’s functions, a large part of public services, such as multimedia broadcast and book advice, can be arranged and delivered more efficiently by social media. As to technical services, one particular library is experimenting the integration of Facebook to existing library OPAC. Library Facebook can also go beyond what’s happening within the library. For instance, news retweets and campus events are examples of how social media can extend and enhance libraries’ authority and connectivity on campus.

Opportunities and partnership between library and Facebook are plentiful, and impacts of social media can transform library into a part of university experience. However, concerns and fears remain. For instance, the third-party nature of most Library 2.0 services adds another layer of complexity in terms of better managing the services when the actual services are hosted externally.

Dr Ming-Hsin Phoebe Chiu

Professor Chiu is currently an assistant professor of Graduate Institute of Library and Information Studies at the National Taiwan Normal University. She received her Ph.D. in Library and Information Studies from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests are Library 2.0, Social Informatics, and Consumer Health Informatics.

Dr Ming-Hsin Phoebe Chiu National Taiwan Normal University
Yi-Ying Lin

Miss Lin is a graduate student of Graduate Institute of Library and Information Studies at the National Taiwan Normal University. Her research interests include Library 2.0, Social Media, and Public Services.

Yi-Ying Lin National Taiwan Normal University

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